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E.g., 01/23/2018
E.g., 01/23/2018
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  • Feature

    Your phone is like a spy in your pocket

    Consider everything your smartphone has done for you today. Counted your steps? Deposited a check? Transcribed notes? Navigated you somewhere new?

    Smartphones make for such versatile pocket assistants because they’re equipped with a suite of sensors, including some we may never think — or even know — about, sensing, for example, light, humidity, pressure and temperature.

    Because...

    01/23/2018 - 12:00 Computing, Technology
  • News

    New technique could help spot snooping drones

    Now there’s a way to tell if a drone is spying on someone.

    Researchers have devised a method to tell what a drone is recording — without having to decrypt the video data that the device streams to the pilot’s smartphone. This technique, described January 9 at arXiv.org, could help military bases detect unwanted surveillance and civilians protect their privacy as more commercial drones...

    01/23/2018 - 07:00 Technology, Science & Society
  • Television

    ‘First Face of America’ explores how humans reached the New World

    A teenage girl climbed into an underground cave around 13,000 years ago. Edging through the ink-dark chamber, she accidentally plunged to her death at the bottom of a deep pit.

    Rising seas eventually inundated the cave, located on Central America’s Yucatán Peninsula. But that didn’t stop scuba divers from finding and retrieving much of the girl’s skeleton in 2007.

    “First Face of...

    01/22/2018 - 07:00 Anthropology, Archaeology, Ancestry
  • 50 years ago, IUDs were deemed safe and effective

    IUDs: approval of a renaissance

    In 1929, the German scientist Ernst Grafenberg inserted silver rings into the uteri of 2,000 women, and reported a pregnancy rate of only 1.6 percent. Despite this history, the use of intrauterine devices, or IUDs, was not generally accepted.… A report made public last week by the FDA’s Advisory Committee on Obstetrics and Gynecology concludes that...

    01/19/2018 - 07:00 Health
  • News

    The secret to icky, sticky bacterial biofilms lies in the microbes’ cellulose

    To build resilient colonies, bacteria make a surprising tweak to a common substance found in cells.

    A  biochemical addition to the cellulose produced by E. coli and other species of bacteria lets them create colonies that are resistant to disruption, researchers report in the Jan. 19 Science. Called biofilms, these microbial colonies can form on medical devices or inside the body,...

    01/18/2018 - 14:31 Microbes, Chemistry
  • News

    Hunter-gatherer lifestyle could help explain superior ability to ID smells

    Smell has a reputation as a second-rate human sense. But that assumption stinks once hunter-gatherers enter the picture.

    Semaq Beri hunter-gatherers, who live in tropical forests on the eastern side of the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia, name various odors as easily as they name colors, say psycholinguist Asifa Majid and linguist Nicole Kruspe. Yet Semelai rice farmers, who live in...

    01/18/2018 - 12:00 Anthropology, Genetics
  • News

    The mystery of vanishing honeybees is still not definitively solved

    It was one of the flashiest mysteries in the news about a decade ago — honeybee workers were vanishing fast for no clear reason. To this day, that puzzle has never been entirely solved, researchers acknowledge.

    And maybe it never will be. Colony collapse disorder, or CCD, as the sudden mass honeybee losses were called, has faded in recent years as mysteriously as it began. It’s possible...

    01/17/2018 - 13:42 Animals, Agriculture, Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    Spaceships could use blinking dead stars to chart their way

    OXON HILL, Md. — Future spacecraft could navigate by the light of dead stars.

    Using only the timing of radiation bursts from pulsating stellar corpses, an experiment on the International Space Station was able to pinpoint its location in space in a first-ever demonstration. The technique operates like a stellar version of GPS, researchers with the Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and...

    01/12/2018 - 17:15 Astronomy
  • News

    Trio of dead stars upholds a key part of Einstein’s theory of gravity

    OXON HILL, Md. — Observations of a trio of dead stars have confirmed that a foundation of Einstein’s gravitational theory holds even for ultradense objects with strong gravitational fields.

    The complex orbital dance of the three former stars conforms to a rule known as the strong equivalence principle, researchers reported January 10 at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society....

    01/12/2018 - 16:19 Astronomy, Physics
  • News

    Pollution is endangering the future of astronomy

    OXON HILL, Md. — Even as technological advances allow astronomers to peer more deeply into the cosmos than ever before, new technologies also have the potential to create blinding pollution.

    Three sources of pollution — space debris, radio interference and light pollution — already are particularly worrisome. And the situation is getting worse. In the next two decades, as many as 20,000...

    01/12/2018 - 13:27 Astronomy, Pollution, Technology